New Huxley book Release!
Let's Die Healthy, by Laura Huxley, has just been published for the first time and is available for purchase only on Lulu and the COUI website! All proceeds will help support COUI!
Welcome Cecilia Mendez!
We would like to welcome Cecilia Mendez as our new Assistant Development Director. She is a former T&T student from 2011, and a very capable, positive and amicable woman. Thank you for all that you do, Cecilia!
Executive Director's Note:
Welcome! Laura Huxley's new book reflects this important chapter in COUI's history, this last 18 months in which we have made great strides and new partnerships. If our work is to continue, we need your participation. Please visit our bookstore to buy Laura's new book today!
We have brought on board one of our students, Cecilia Mendez, as Assistant Development Director. Cecilia graduated Teens & Toddlers in 2011; so committed was she to the program, and supportive of her fellow students' success, facilitators requested her administrative help with subsequent programs. Now again, at age 20, Cecilia has become an ideal aide to us, and we ask you to welcome her to our small, but driven and effective team. Her first story follows here -- and we will all be seing the results of her good work soon.
On a serious note -- we are at a turning point and are in critical need of funds and Board support. Our nearly completed LAUSD certification, and our developing partnership with the LAPD depends on your support. We need your donations!
Thank you for your interest and support,
Karen Pfeiffer, Exuctive Director
How Facilitators Helped Me
By Cecilia Mendez, T&T Graduate
Teens and Toddlers facilitators help their students out a lot. I was able to go to them for absolutely anything. They always gave great advice and did their best to help me figure out solutions. For example, we were walking to Beethoven (one of the preschools we volunteered at) and I asked C-J, “What can I do to feel better when I’m not being heard?” C-J told me something that I hadn’t thought of before, “Maybe the person is busy and doesn’t realize that you’re talking to them, so you might need to make sure that you have their attention. If they do know that you’re talking to them and they’re still ignoring you, walk away and find someone else to hear you out because there’s always someone willing to listen.”
What made me feel really comfortable was that everything we said to them during or outside of the class was always kept between us. They never turned down helping their students, and they gave us their cell phone numbers just in case we needed to talk outside of class - not many teachers do that.
This is different from how I’ve been treated by adults in the past. Growing up, I rarely felt like I was being heard. Everyone was always in a hurry and I usually didn’t get any questions answered. With C-J and Karen, they took their time to listen, and made sure that when I walked away, I had an answer or felt better. This made me feel important and special - that someone for once made the time to hear me out. This has had a lot of influence on how I want to grow as a person because having a model for good communication showed me that we should treat everyone how we want to be treated. No one is less, and no one is more.
T&T Success Stories
By Elizabeth Crawford, COUI President
Teens and Toddlers never seemed as real to us as it did when I drove Laura Huxley for the first time down to Pueblo de Los Angeles, a continuation high school in the heart of Los Angeles' tough Lincoln Heights area. We were on our way to meet our first twelve prospective students interested in our pilot T&T program; twelve young people growing up in one of the hardest places on earth, working to get an education and keep their chins up against gangs, drugs, poverty, violence and neglect.
We were here to bring the ideals promoted by Laura's husband, Aldous Huxley, and her own life's work; T&T was to be a place where teenagers could be exposed to the latest in psychology and humanistic ideals, neurology and the plain hard work of caring for squirming, demanding young children. We were idealists -- but suddenly the grim surroundings and hard faces made us wonder what on earth we were doing here.
We met the students on the small lawn of their school, under a massive oak tree; one by one we sat with them, heard their stories and why they were interested in joining our program; but it was when Angel sat down to speak with us that I knew we were right where we belonged.
Billowing white t-shirt, shaved head, tattoos everywhere, across his throat -- he was everything we are taught to fear. But he was so shy -- he wouldn't meet our eyes, and we had to lean in to hear him speak.
"I want to join your program because....I need someone to teach me how to be a father." He glanced up, his gaze piercing: "I have a two-year-old son and I have no idea how to be a father -- there are no fathers around here. My father is in jail, life imprisonment -- my uncle is in jail, life imprisonment -- my brother is in jail, life imprisonment -- I need to know how to be a father, and I need you to teach me how."
With infinite wisdom and gentleness, Laura leaned in close to Angel, clasped his hand gently and told him he already had everything inside him he would ever need...and that we would help him experience the things he needed to bring out his wisdom.
We learned later that Angel was struggling to leave his gang -- the gang of his father, his uncle, his brother -- and that he was hiding and sleeping in sheds and garages, to keep safe. Yet every day he came to school, clothing immaculate somehow, honor and determination intact; he became one of our first student teachers, graduated school and went on to join the Army and serve our country bravely for many years.
What Angel taught us has lived with us for decades; we know what we taught him will live for generations.
Welcome to our new newsletter, designed to bring to you the heart and soul of our 16 years in operation -- the students themselves.
We welcome Cecilia Mendez, our new Assistant Development Director, a former student who became a student mentor for us, and is well-suited to helping us bring our message forward.
Through her own words, and those of other students in future newsletters, we will share the victories and never-ending hope of these indomitable, resiliant and loving young people.
My own story follows Cecilia's.
Wecome -- and we urge you to support our work at this critical time, so we may continue our life-changing work.
My warmest regards,
"Growing up, I rarely felt like I was being heard. (Teens & Toddlers) made me feel important and special - that someone for once made the time to hear me out."
"..Having a model for good communication showed me that we should treat everyone how we want to be treated."
How to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
A special thanks to the following Teens & Toddlers graduates who have written wonderful essays for our newsletters this year:
Thank you to our Golden Circle of Friends:
Thank you to our Silver Circle of Friends:
George and Peggy D.
The Men's Wearhouse
Thank you to our Bronze Circle of Friends:
You have ALL made an incredible impact on our continued success!
We are looking for new Board Members! Find out more about how you can become a Volunteer.
Join our circle of friends donor membership program today and donate via PayPal, Network for Good or Razoo!
Books you buy on our website help support our programs!
Write a review for us on Great Nonprofits!
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Donate to COUI through our Razoo campaign.
Donate to COUI via Network for Good, a thrid party organization. Please consider automatic monthly donations.
Find out what T&T educators and graduates are saying!